The Draft And The Deep-dish Delight
What’s in a Papa Del’s pizza? A famished campus, a floundering student and a failing fraternity are the unlikely ingredients of this culinary icon, a favorite among alumni and one of the most famous brands ever to come out of the University of Illinois campus.
Each week, Papa Del’s sends its pizzas to points nationwide; indeed, in summer 2010, 76 members of the San Francisco Bay Area Illini Club dined on 19 pizzas shipped to them cross-country for a trip down Memory Lane. It’s been rumored that the pie has smuggled its way into Japan, Europe and Asia, and it’s commonplace to find alumni within a 50-mile radius of C-U jettisoning their plans to visit the Green Street eatery and yield to their jonesin’.
While the first Papa Del Pizza restaurant opened in 1970 at the corner of Wright and Healey streets in Campustown, the story of how it got there really begins in the spring of ’68 when the Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity needed at least 20 new pledges in order to survive.